There won’t be a shortage of missions coming to Vandenberg Space Force Base in the future, Space Launch Delta 30 Commander Col. Robert Long announced March 17 during the annual "State of Vandenberg" address and luncheon held at the Pacific Coast Club.

"It's a booming time in the space industry," he said.

While Vandenberg is on pace for major growth since its transition in May 2021 to one of five space force bases in the nation, Long said a need still remains in the areas of housing, medical and education to handle any expected boom in business.

“So we're looking for opportunities across the community right now," he said.

Local partners in attendance were Lompoc Mayor Jenelle Osborne and Santa Maria Mayor Alice Patino, as well as Lompoc and Santa Maria chamber presidents/CEOs DeVika Stalling and Glenn Morris, among others. The event was sponsored by the Santa Maria and Lompoc chambers.

While looking to the future, Long reflected back on 2021, a year flush with “firsts” for Vandenberg, chiefly its renaming.

“We didn’t just change the name, but reorganized ourselves,” Long said, explaining that Vandenberg Space Force Base deactivated its “space wings” and replaced them with “Space Deltas,” hence the new unit name Space Launch Delta 30.

In making such a change, the operations group and mission support group were deactivated to make the new structure “flatter, more efficient, more effective and agile,” Long said.

Added to a year of accomplishments, Vandenberg celebrated its 2,000th launch since 1958, launched the world’s first planetary defense mission, the first WIR Falcon-9 Mission, and the first uprange destruct since 2001.

A notable accomplishment, Vandenberg in 2021 supported two launches in record time: 34 hours and 25 minutes.

Long said as the Space Force grows and matures — a sixth base in Los Angeles is set to join the five already established — Vandenberg will continue working with industry agencies for new opportunities. Possible partnership under consideration include missions with the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent program and the Missile Defense Agency, he said.

Any impacts on the base, nearby communities and its resources, have not yet been identified.

“I think I'm safe in saying there will be some growth,” Long said. “What that looks like, and what those demographics are, I can't tell you right now. I just don't know because we're still in the early stages.”

Lisa André covers lifestyle and local news for Santa Ynez Valley News and Lompoc Record, editions of the Santa Maria Times.